About Small Hand Foods
Small Hand Foods, the first craft cocktail syrup company, was created in 2008 by Jennifer Colliau. While tending bar at The Slanted Door in San Francisco, she wanted to make a traditional Mai Tai with Orgeat made from real almonds, the way it was done before Prohibition. After months of development, she had a delicious Orgeat recipe that was the closest possible to how it was made in the 1800s. She added Gum Syrup, Pineapple Gum, Raspberry Gum and Grenadine shortly afterward and began offering these syrups to bars and restaurants nationwide. Small Hand Foods syrups are cooked the way cocktail syrups were made in the 1800s: no high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or anything artificial.
An award-winning bartender and sought after authority on classic cocktails and contemporary mixology, Jennifer has been a bartender and bar consultant for over two decades in the San Francisco and LA areas. She founded Small Hand Foods to revive century-old cocktail ingredients, and speaks and writes about classic cocktail history and evolution around the country. Also a trained furniture maker with a degree from California College of the Arts, Jennifer’s unique background, pride in her work, attention to detail, and phenomenal palate positions her as an exceptional authority on how and why we drink what we do, and how our beverages have evolved over centuries.
An Oakland native, Jennifer’s bartending career actually began in Los Angeles where she learned fundamental skills, acquired an extensive education on tequila, and served drinks to celebrities including Leonard Cohen and Madonna. She has had a lifelong experimental curiosity and geeky attention to detail–at the age of 9 she made every recipe in the “Candies and Confections” section of The Joy of Cooking, including tracking down numerous obscure ingredients without the benefit of a search engine.
Since the early 2000’s Jen has been an active participant in the Bay Area’s vibrant bar scene. She spent 8 years tending bar at San Francisco’s celebrated Slanted Door restaurant. Her fellow bartenders there and at establishments like Bourbon & Branch, Beretta, Bar Agricole and the Slanted Door-related Heaven’s Dog and Hard Water, amongst many others, form a community of cocktail-makers who value both cocktail history and creative experimentation with ingredients and techniques. She has been interviewed in or written about cocktails and bartending for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Wired, 7×7, Imbibe Magazine, The Blend, and many more.